From Psycho to Vertigo and North by Northwest, Alfred Hitchcock made many extraordinary films during his long career. But for me Rear Window will always stand out as his greatest masterpiece.
L.B Jefferies (James Stewart) has been stuck in a wheelchair in his uncomfortably hot apartment, for six weeks after breaking his leg. He amuses himself by looking out of his window at his many interesting neighbours. But things change when he begins to suspect one them of murdering his wife.
Rear Window is nothing short of perfection. It is amazing right from the beginning, with a great musical score in classic Hitchcock style, and we see through the windows of his neighbours. The film doesn’t only focus on the murder but on lots of the residents of Jeffs town. There is a young couple, we see get married at the beginning, a composer who sits playing his piano almost none stop, a young woman always practicing her ballet in her underwear (one of Jeffs favourites to watch) and a middle-aged woman nicknamed miss-lonely heart for obvious reasons. Are among some of the people shown, but most importantly is Mr. Thorwald and his missing wife.
It happens early one morning when Jeff (who sleeps in his wheelchair propped up by the window) keeps drifting in and out of sleep hears a scream and a smashed glass and wakes up in the morning to find that Thorwald’s wife, who was bed-ridden has now mysteriously vanished. Jeff soon manages to convince his girlfriend, Lisa (Grace Kelly) that he is right and his nurse; Stella (Thelma Ritter) is also drawn into the case.
We are drawn into their case instantly, not just because its a Hitchcock so it would be very unlikely that they were wrong, but also because there are continuous clues that Thorwald is guilty, but that he is very likely a psychopath. Lisa begins to believe Jeff when she sees Thorwald tying up a large box with thick rope. We later see Thorwald going through his wifes jewelry while on a long-distance call, taking out some machetes from a newspaper and getting nervous when one of the neighbours dogs continuously sniffs around his front garden.
Hitchcocks directing is the best that directing can get. Rear window is immensely suspenseful and tense. One of the most terrifying scenes is where Lisa goes into Thorwald’s apartment after Jeff stages a fake meeting with him, and the final conclusion now famous as being one of the most suspenseful movie endings ever. A flawless masterpiece 10/10